question may not be something that you have considered previously.
It is, however, extremely important to your dog. Of course, we all
know a dog is not human; however, it has needs, much like we do.
dog's most basic needs include, but are not limited to, sufficient
quantities of good-quality food and fresh water daily to sustain
it, adequate shelter, and an annual checkup with vaccinations. In
certain parts of the Country, like the Mid-South, your dog will
also need to be on a monthly heart worm medicine and, usually, some
type of flea and tick preventative. A dog may also occasionally
have health problems between its annual trips that necessitate additional
trips to the vet.
has been written on the "basics" of keeping an animal
physically healthy. If you need more information on "basic"
care, your veterinarian can provide it to you and you should rely
on his or her expertise.
assume you know the "basics." We want you to consider
something equally important to your animal as its physical well-being.
That is its "quality of life." Quality of life relates
to a sense of well-being that stems from satisfaction or dissatisfaction
with the areas of life important to an individual, so, "quality
of life" is about the things that make life worth living or
your dog's emotional and mental health. Have you ever thought what
your dog's life is like to your dog?
are pack animals. That means God and nature have hardwired them
for life in a group. It also means being alone is not natural for
them. When we domesticated dogs, we bred them to do things for us.
Working dogs, dogs with jobs, have something to do, and, further,
most of the tasks that we bred
them for involved being with us, so they were not alone. Today,
most dogs are no longer "working" dogs, they are guardians
of our home and property or mere pets.
does this mean to their quality of life? We get dogs when they are
young and "socialize" them to accept us as their pack,
sometimes so much so that they cannot relate well with other dogs.
Then what? While inside dogs have their own problems, because we,
as humans, expect them to conform with our expectations of how they
should act inside our homes, at least we do not condemn them to
a life of loneliness. They enjoy our company and, although it is
not the same type of company that they would have in a "pack,"
it is, nonetheless, company.
dogs, especially "only" dogs, are not so lucky. Owners
may feed and water them every day, see that they get annual vaccinations
and are on heartworm medicine and maybe give them a quick pat on
the head or occasionally throw a ball for them, but, on the whole,
it is a sad and lonely life for the dog. Remember, dogs are pack
outside dog has no one to play with, no one to hunt with, no one
to sleep with, no one to do anything with. Further, dogs do not
have our resources. They can't read. They can't watch television.
Dogs handle this in a number of ways: some get depressed and just
lay around or sleep all the time, others go stir crazy and barking
excessively, dig, or chew, maybe even tear up anything and everything
they can find, still others, become escape artists. What is that
saying - home is where the heart is?
dog needs emotional, mental and physical stimulation and it needs
more than five or ten minutes a day. It needs to be part of a pack,
whether the pack is human or canine. Would you honestly want to
live your outside dog's life? Sitting, outside, in a confined area
or on a chain, by yourself hour after hour, day after day, week
after week, year after year, waiting for someone to feed and water
you, pat you on your head once or twice and then leave again? Can
you honestly say that does not sound like a horrible, lonely and
you have a dog, living outside, by itself, give some thought to
your dog's quality of life. If you don't want another dog, consider
making your dog an inside dog. If you can't or won't do anything
else, find your dog another home, where its needs will be met.
final note, if you keep a dog as a "guard" dog, it is
not going to do you much good out in the backyard if someone breaks
into your home. Think about it.
Copyright 2004 - Responsible Animal Owners of Tennessee, Inc. -
Permission granted to copy and distribute in its entirety as is.